Driving with Children

Driving with your grandchildren may be a different experience for you than when you traveled with your own kids when they were young. Sure there will be the same frequent stops for the bathroom and the endless variations of the question of “When will be there?”

But, there are different safety regulations for driving with children than when your children were young that you will need to abide by. There are also lots of new ways to keep the children occupied in the backseat (where they must always be nowadays) that can make the trip a little easier than it was twenty years ago when you traveled with your kids.

Here are some great car travel tips for grandparents:

Safety Tips

  • If your grandchildren require car seats, make sure that you have one of their parents explain exactly how they work.
  • Always check to make sure all harnesses and seatbelts are fully fastened, even if your grandchildren are old enough to strap themselves in.
  • Children under the age of 12 should not be in the front seat of the car.

Keeping Peace in the Backseat

  • Play some games. I Spy, 20 Questions, or Counting all the Red Cars will keep the kids occupied and out of each other’s hair.
  • Take turns. If children need to share an electronic device such as a DVD player, supervise their choices so that each child gets a turn to choose what’s on.
  • Get in the back with them once in a while. If there is room, having one grandparent sit in the back with the kids to engage them in conversation and keep their hands off of each other works wonders.
  • Travel while they are sleeping. Sleeping children can’t fight. Get a super early start or begin traveling right before bedtime and travel during as much of their sleep time as possible.
  • Take frequent stops. Children can only last so long strapped into a seat belt or car seat. If the weather is nice have a picnic and a quick game of catch. A stop at a family style restaurant on a rainy day is better than trying to eat as you go. If you are driving near an interesting site, do stop and see what it is all about. That way, the trip can be as much fun as the getting there.

Be Prepared

  • Have a blanket or a sweatshirt for each child in case it gets chilly.
  • Pack a cooler of healthy snacks (and a couple of not healthy snacks – you are the grandparent after all) and juice boxes. Kids seem to get extra hungry when they are confined.
  • Have a small first aid kit with Band-Aids and pain relievers.
  • Bring coloring books, crayons, a deck of cards, Mad Libs, and other small games to keep them occupied.

Take Advantage of Modern Technology

  • Show movies in your car. Even if your car is not equipped with a DVD player, there are quality portable ones that can be attached to the back of the seats. A movie can keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours.
  • Bring a hand held gaming system for each child. When the movie is done in the DVD player, let them play video games for a while.
  • Load up mp3 players with more than just music. Having their favorite songs on the mp3 device is great, but kids can also listen to audio books on their mp3 players.
  • Don’t forget the headphones. This will help to keep the noise level down in the car and allow the grown ups to talk or listen to their own music in the front seat.
  • Keep a surprise on hand for particularly cranky moments. Pulling out a brand new DVD or game can stop the fighting and bring peace back.

Enjoy Them

When driving with children the modern technology is great to keep them occupied, but once in a while turn off all the gadgets, close the coloring books, and talk to your grandkids about anything they want to talk about.

Flying with Children

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